Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.


War Without End

12-25-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the less sentimental Christmas songs is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. The song is based on a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas Day in 1863. His wife had died in a fire two years earlier and his son was a young Lieutenant serving in the Union Army and was badly injured in a battle. Added to this the nation was being torn asunder by civil war so you can understand the pensive and heavy feeling that this song brings with it:

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Climate Change

12-18-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Different news agencies have recently reported that the Vatican has issued new guidelines for the formation of future priests. Not exactly earth shattering news except that the guidelines include incorporating the teaching of Pope Francis in his encyclical letter “Care for our Common Home” (Laudato Si). Again no big news here as seminary curricula includes studying lots of Papal Encyclical letters. But somehow the news took all this to mean that the Pope is requiring new priests to preach about global warming/climate change. That doesn't seem to be the case but we will have to wait and see. It would seem odd to raise the issue to the level of doctrine especially after the Church jumped on the anti-Galileo train and suffered the longest lasting black eye in history. Still this could be messy and divisive for new priests. For the more mature among us well it can be hard to teach an old dog new tricks hence the Pope’s call for ‘ecological conversion’.

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We Need a Little Christmas

12-11-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

For we need a little Christmas right this very moment… Actually as I write this it is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas who is the basis of our Santa Claus figure. St. Nick was known to be a charitable man who had great devotion to his people. But he was also a strong Bishop who defended the Christian faith especially the truth about the person of Jesus Christ. On both accounts he gives us an example to imitate. The most amazing thing of all is that a Catholic bishop who lived in 4th century Turkey still exercises such tremendous influence on our imagination and our culture. What his life teaches us is that there is no telling how powerful one’s individual actions can be to influence others or even the course of history for the good. St. Nicholas was by no means a man of means but he used what he had to improve the lot of others.

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The Land

12-04-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I’m feeling like a glass of tap water among bottles of Evian and Perrier or maybe better a bagel on a plate of Danish. We have welcomed our Sisters from the Servants of the Plan of God, two from Peru, one from Ecuador and one from Chile. Now we welcome Fr. Jerome Cayetano, SVD from the Philippines! In addition we have Fr. Ernesto in residence here and he is from Mexico (but soon to be a US citizen). I’m simply no longer exotic, unless of course you consider Philadelphia a foreign place!

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Times Are A-Changing

11-27-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your pen And keep your eyes wide The chance won't come again And don't speak too soon For the wheel's still in spin And there's no telling who that it's naming For the loser now will be later to win Cause the times they are a-changing.
Bob Dylan " The Times Are A-Changing"

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Vote No on 205

11-06-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

So you play your albums, and you smoke your pot
And you meet your girlfriend in the parking lot
Oh but still you're aching for the things you haven't got
What went wrong
And if you can't understand why your world is so dead
Why you've got to keep in style and feed your head
Well you're 21 and still your mother makes your bed
And that's too long
Captain Jack will get you high tonight
And take you to your special island
Captain Jack will get you by tonight
Just a little push, and you'll be smilin'
Captain Jack by Billy Joel

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November's Bumpy Start

10-30-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As of November I begin my 17th year here at Mt. Carmel and its not starting out so well for our parish, our nation or this Bulletin. I didn’t expect to loose Fr. Sam in October and his replacement won’t be coming due to circumstances beyond my control. The Bishop has promised to send another priest at some point in the future, just not right now. In the meantime I am scheduled to be out of town November 1-14, I will be giving a retreat at the Salesian Retreat Center in Hong Kong. Which means as of this writing (10/25) we are scrambling to find priests to cover Masses. The weekend Masses should be covered but the weekday might have spotty coverage. Our deacons will be coordinating things and if need will lead a prayer service on days when a priest is not available. I apologize for this interruption in service… All will be back to normal when I return on the fifteenth. This does bring up the point that as our Diocese grows the number of priests has not grown with it. So pray for more vocations to the Diocesan priesthood.

As a footnote you can always attend weekday Mass at the Newman Center on University and College (Mon-Thurs. @ 6pm), at Holy Spirit in Tempe, McClintock and Guadalupe (Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat @ 8:30am) or Resurrection Parish, Southern and Evergreen (Mon-Sat. @ 8am). Please note there will be Monday Adoration and Benediction as usual.

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Now is the time for Rejoicing!

10-23-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former, says the Lord of Hosts, and in this place I will grant prosperity. Haggai 2:9

We took that as our theme for our Parish Diamond Jubilee in 2007 and now the future has arrived and we are living in the middle of the answer to our Jubilee prayer. The prophet Haggai was an old man by the time he prophesied in Jerusalem. Haggai had witnessed the destruction of his city and the Temple and now after his people returned from exile he was calling them to rise up from the ashes of exile and reclaim their rightful place as God’s light to the nations. What makes Haggai exceptional among the Hebrew prophets is that the people actually took his message to heart and did in fact rebuild their city and the Temple. His message was passionate, simple and straightforward. And what the people discovered while rebuilding the Temple was that a shift in their own spiritual attitude from a focus on self to a focus on God had occurred. The message is simple and applies to believers of every age: put God at the center of your lives and your nation and the blessings God promised will be yours in abundance.

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The Struggle Continues

10-16-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

President Abraham Lincoln’s national campaign to enlist all Americans in resisting a Supreme Court decision was brought up in the second Presidential Debate by one of the candidates. President Lincoln considered the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dred Scott case illegitimate and refused to do anything to enact the court’s decision that a slave was a non-citizen, a non-person and property of the slave owner. Lincoln’s goal was to replace Dred Scott with the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. In the end President Lincoln was so abhorred by the decision that his refusal to compromise on it would lead four years later to bringing the nation into civil war.

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Hysterectomy for Men

10-16-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Physicians in the US are now required to give upon request a man a hysterectomy. Yes, you read that correctly, it is not a mistake, tongue in check or sarcasm. The Department of Human Services Office of Civil Rights has issued a new rule (no idea where they get the right to do so) that physicians must treat patients according to their stated gender/sex and failure to do so could result in a charge of health care discrimination and fines and loss of reimbursements and possible loss of license. Women who self identify as men and request a hysterectomy regardless of the medical need for such procedure must be accommodated.

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Mercy, Mercy, Me

10-02-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As I’ve said throughout this Jubilee Year of Mercy, God is using it to strengthen the Church for whatever is to come. Even though we are coming to the last two months of the Jubilee there are still things to do and ways to prepare.

1st Friday MERCY NIGHT: the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit (a new community of Franciscans in our Diocese) will host a Mercy Night for the South Deanery, of which we are a part, at Corpus Christi Parish (3550 E. Knox Rd. Phoenix) on Friday, October 7 at 7pm. Mass, Teachings and Confessions will be available until 10pm. The Franciscan Friars are worth hearing and also great confessors.

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